"Shah Rukh Khan Victimised": Mamata Banerjee Hits Out At BJP In Mumbai

Invoking a poem by Rabindranath Tagore on Shivaji, Mamata Banerjee said there is a "bridge"between Bengal and Maharashtra.

'Shah Rukh Khan Victimised': Mamata Banerjee Hits Out At BJP In Mumbai

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cited the "victimisation" of megastar Shah Rukh Khan in Mumbai today before a huge audience that included political leaders, social activists, former high court judges and celebrities. Calling BJP a "cruel and undemocratic party", she underscored the need of unity and sought advice and guidance for the battle ahead.

Calling her a "ray of hope", film Director Mahesh Bhat said, "The story of India is too vast and diverse to reduce it to one narrative. The story of plural, diverse and tolerant India has to be that. How are going to protect liberals from the goons of the right wing?"

"India loves manpower not muscle power. We are facing a cruel undemocratic party the BJP. If we are together, we will win," responded the Trinamool chief, who is on a two-day visit to the state.

"Mahesh ji (film director Mahesh Bhatt), you have been victimised, Shah Rukh Khan has also been victimised. If we have to win, we have to fight and speak out wherever you can. You guide us and give us advice as a political party," added Ms Banerjee, who was accompanied on this trip by poll strategist Prashant Kishor.

That there is a bridge between Bengal and Maharashtra is clear, she said, invoking Bengal's iconic poet Rabindranath Tagore and his poem on Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji.  

The Trinamool chief's mega victory against the BJP's mighty election machinery has catapulted her towards the national stage. And with a steady stream of leaders joining her party -- mostly at the cost of the Congress -- she appears to be heading for the political space occupied by the Congress. Many expect her to become the fulcrum for a united opposition charge against the BJP in 2024.

Her meeting today was attended by former High Court judges Shafi Parkar and Abhay Thipse, Tushar Gandhi, activists Teesta Setalvad and Medha Patkar, former Congress leader Sanjay Jha, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Shatrughan Sinha, author Shobha De and a fair sized contingent from Bollywood including Swara Bhaskar and Konkona Sen Sharma.

Later Ms Banerjee -- who met  Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut last evening – met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who is one of the interlocutors of the opposition.

Tweeting photos of the meeting, Mr Pawar posted, "Pleased to meet Hon'ble CM of West Bengal Smt @MamataOfficial at my Mumbai residence. We Discussed various issues. We agreed upon the need to strengthen the collective efforts and commitment towards safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the betterment of our people".